Thrombocytopenic Purpura In Children

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Thrombocytopenic Purpura In Children (Discharge Care) Care Guide

  • Thrombocytopenic purpura is a bleeding disorder where there are too few platelets in your child's blood. Platelets are blood cells that help stop bleeding by sticking together to form a clot. Thrombocytopenic purpura may be a childhood or neonatal (newborn) immune system problem. The cause of the condition may be unknown, and called idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, or ITP. ITP may occur in an otherwise healthy child who suddenly has signs of bleeding, such as bruising. This condition is usually seen after a viral (germ) infection, such as measles or chickenpox. Pregnant women with ITP may also pass on antibodies to her baby, causing neonatal thrombocytopenia.

  • Signs and symptoms often start with pinpoint reddish spots in the body. This is followed by purple-colored patches of bruising, and bleeding from the gums, mouth or nose. The bowel movements (BM) may have blood or are dark-colored. Blood tests are done to diagnose ITP. Most children with mild ITP get well within 3 to 12 months, and often do not need treatment. Medicines, such as steroids and immune globulins, may be given to treat severe ITP. Surgery to take out the spleen may also be done. Avoiding activities, medicines, and other things that cause bleeding may help your child to keep doing most of his usual activities.

AFTER YOU LEAVE:

Medicines:

  • Keep a current list of your child's medicines: Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list and the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists. Give vitamins, herbs, or food supplements only as directed.

  • Give your child's medicine as directed: Call your child's primary healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him if your child is allergic to any medicine. Ask before you change or stop giving your child his medicines.

  • Do not give your child any medicine that has aspirin or ibuprofen-like medicines in it. Ask caregivers before giving your child any over-the-counter medicine.

Ask for more information about where and when to take your child for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services for your child, ask for information.

Do's and do nots:

  • Do have your child wear a medical alert bracelet or necklace saying that he has thrombocytopenic purpura. You may get one from a drugstore or contact the MedicAlert Foundation:
    • MedicAlert Foundation
      2323 Colorado Avenue
      Turlock , CA 95382
      Phone: 1- 888 - 633-4298
      Web Address: http://www.medicalert.org


  • Do encourage him to eat more fruits, and drink fruit juices and lots of water, to avoid constipation. Constipation can cause bleeding in your child's bowel movement. Ask your child's caregiver for information on ways to prevent and treat constipation.

  • Do give your child a soft-bristled toothbrush to use to help prevent bleeding gums. Teach him to brush his teeth slowly and gently. Use lip balms to prevent your child's lip from drying and cracking.

  • Do apply lotion on your child's dry skin to prevent itching and scratching. Scratching may lead to bruising and bleeding.

  • Do not allow your child to join in rough play or contact sports. This may cause skin bruising and head injuries, which may lead to bleeding.

  • Do not give your child any medicines without asking his caregiver first. Do not give him aspirin, ibuprofen, or antihistamines as these medicines may cause bleeding.

For support and more information:

Having thrombocytopenic purpura may be a life-changing disease for you, your child, and your family. Accepting that your child has thrombocytopenic purpura may be hard. You and those close to you may feel angry, sad, or frightened. These feelings are normal. Talk to your caregivers, family, or friends about your feelings. You may also want to join a support group for people who have thrombocytopenic purpura. Contact the following for more information:

  • National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
    Health Information Center
    P.O. Box 30105
    Bethesda , MD 20824-0105
    Phone: 1- 301 - 592-8573
    Web Address: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/infoctr/index.htm
  • National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
    Building 31, room 9A04 Center Drive, MSC 2560
    Bethesda , MD 208922560
    Web Address: http://www.niddk.nih.gov
  • American Academy of Family Physicians
    11400 Tomahawk Creek Parkway
    Leawood , KS 66211-2680
    Phone: 1- 913 - 906-6000
    Phone: 1- 800 - 274-2237
    Web Address: http://www.aafp.org

CONTACT A CAREGIVER IF:

  • Your child has a fever.

  • Your child is bleeding from his gums, mouth, or nose.

  • Your child has abdominal (belly) pain.

  • Your child's bowel movement has blood in it or is dark-colored.

  • Your child has a sudden, severe headache.

SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:

  • Your child just had a head injury.

  • Your child had a seizure (convulsion).

  • Your child is drowsy, cannot be awaken, or does not respond to you.

  • Your child does not know where he is, or does not know people that he did know.

  • Your child has problems seeing (blurry or double vision), talking, or hearing.

  • Your child has repeated or forceful vomiting (throwing up).

  • Your baby has a bulging soft spot (fontanel) on his head.

  • Your child has sudden weakness, numbness, or problems with his balance and movement.

© 2013 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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